Module 9 – The Ruby in the Smoke

Summary:

Sally Lockhart, a self-made teenager in the late 1800s,  is an independent woman and gunslinger who dabbles with opium and aims to be an accountant.  The book begins when she gets a strange note from her late father’s business partner. When she visits the shipping company where her father used to work, Sally realizes that she has stumbled upon a dangerous mystery. While the main focus of the book is to help find a lost ruby, Sally is also consumed with the shady circumstances around her father’s death. Along the way she meets a young office boy named Jim, a mysterious Mr. Marchbanks, a dangerous woman called Mrs. Holland, and Frederick Garland, a photographer.

Impressions:

This book seemed like a incredibly dark version of Nancy Drew. The main character seems tortured and confused about the right thing to do. I enjoyed the depth of Sally as a character, though I question if she is the best role model for anyone. I thought the writing style was consistent with the setting and time period and all of the characters, not just Sally, were interesting and complex.

Professional Review:

“The story’s events are so exciting that when the denouement with its explanations finally comes, it is anticlimactic. Moreover, with such involved plotting, it will most likely take a second reading to find out if everything actually hangs together, and readers may want to do just that (1987 Cooper).

I agree with this review in that the plot was not typical of mysteries and requires a close reading. I think the book is more of a thriller than a mystery because the mystery part is much less important.

Uses:

It would be a very fun exercise to have a mystery reading club for teens and put this book with a Nancy Drew book. I think the kids would have a lot to say about how the books compared and contrasted.

References:

Cooper, I. (1987). Ruby in the Smoke. The Booklist Online. Retrieved from http://www.booklistonline.com/The-Ruby-in-the-Smoke-Philip-Pullman/pid=1915173.

Pullman, P. (1985). The Ruby in the Smoke. London: Oxford University Press.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s